Saturday, January 30, 2010

I found this interesting.

How to Write a Novel by BarbecuedIguana

It's always interesting to see how somebody else goes about this very, very individualized process. I, for example, cut the number of steps that this person uses in half, usually writing without an outline and hoping for some burst of inspiration to tie it all together. (Oddly enough, it usually works. Sometimes brilliantly. Go figure.) Then I know some people who will start over and over and over again, trying to get it perfect from page 1, and some people who write shitty draft after shitty draft, each one becoming progressively better.

So how do (or did) you guys go about plunging into that novel you're working on, whatever it is? Do you fine-tune every chapter as it comes? Do you start from the end and write backwards? Do you write like a runaway train (like me)? What's in your box of writing tricks? Spill, so I can create the perfect novel-writing robot.

*ahem* I mean, we'd all like to know. Yes.

Ok, so this is totally random, granted, but I made all of these little chibi guys for a FaceBook quiz which I made to help promote Aigaion Girl. The quiz worked like a charm the first time, but since then, has only worked once. I have no idea what's wrong with it, but it's driving me CRAZY. That aside, the real reason for this post is so I can show off my adorable little chibis, which is only minorly ridiculous because they do sort of pertain to my writing, or at least to the promotion of it. Anyway, they're adorable and it's nearly 4:00am, so I'm allowed.

In other self-pluggish news, my website is coming along nicely. I can't wait until it's completely finished and I can link it. Now I just need to get Aigaion edited and ready to order.

I think that's it for now.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I'm thinking of starting a line of Devereaux Court merchandise on CafePress... book bags and pins and such. I dunno; just a thought.

Also, I started writing a story today about a little girl who talks to a rock in her back yard. I'll let you know where, if anywhere, that goes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Aigaion Girl Officially Exists!

So, as the title of this rather shameless and long-overdue self-plug suggests, my proof copy of Aigaion Girl arrived today.

I'm fairly excited. CreateSpace is back in my good books. For one thing, when I read UPS in their email to me, I was thinking UPS, not US Postal Service, and there's a chance they actually said USP, and I misread it. Not being from the states, it didn't ever occur to me that UPS could mean anything other than the courier company.

The interior looks amazing, very crisp, very clean. The only problems with it are my own typos, and hey - What's a proof copy for? Also, since I have to update the interior files, I can correct what have become tiny fibs (IE, I can't really put that I live in B.C. in my bio).

I really like the outside (especially the part where my name is on the spine of an actual, real book!) as well, though I wish I could have a higher res image than 300dpi. It's clear unless you're really looking, but I think I'll shrink the cover image down just a hair, to make the graininess less obvious.

I actually got it this morning, but I wanted to wait to write a post until I had pictures {other than the pictures of me in my PJs, looking like I'm hung over and don't believe in showering (the only reason I posted this one is that the flash didn't fire)}. This afternoon, I went out with one each of my brothers and sisters to celebrate. My brother bought me a celebratory muffin. It was tasty.

Another one of my brothers is going to ask his teacher if he can read it for his English ISU, because any of the questions like what was the author trying to say here? can be easily answered by him asking me. I think it's a good idea.

At the moment, Rhiannon is reading it (she's already halfway done) and telling me all of the places I forgot things like personal pronouns and the word the. This is good, because my mind tends to put these things in when I'm reading, whether they're there or not.

OK, so this is turning into a ridiculously long post to convey a very little bit of actual information, for which I apologize. Please forgive my bouncing-off-the-walls enthusiasm and enjoy the rest of your day :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Large image steals your bandwidth!

Soooo, because Athena requested it, teasery thingummies for my comic, the cleverly-named (at least I think so) Night Club. If you want to know what's going on here, you can find the comic in its entirety on my deviantART page, here. It starts out kind put it nicely, rocky. But (in my opinion at least) it gets better. Please bear with the horrible spectre of the gigantic manga eyes - they go away after a few pages.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Update (stealing E's idea)

I thought I would steal E's idea and let everyone know what I'm up to, too.

My proof copy of Aigaion Girl still hasn't arrived yet, but I think they have a few more days before it's late again. Kinda sucks to be waiting, but whatever.

Now that I have access to a working computer I've started posting chapters of Little 15 on FictionPress again. I'm also working on the logistics of my new post-apocalyptic zombie fic, 200 Pages.

I spent a few hours today working on my website as well. It looks good; I can't wait until it's up and running.

I think that's it for updates for me.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Updates, eh?

I just want to spout about what I've been doing, because something somewhere has lit a fire under me.

First, there's this lovely essay that I'm trying to write for a scholarship, on the topic of my passion for one of the arts. Naturally, I chose literature. Unfortunately, the first draft read like a snarky pretentious thirteen-year-old with an ever-present black beret and book of bad goth poetry had written it, and had to be abandoned. I'm now on the second attempt, which sounds much, much more Disney-like, but hey, Disney knows how to tug the old heartstrings, so I can live with this.
Then, there's the actual writing side of things. I dredged up an old manuscript a little while ago and decided to give it a facelift. The ever-so-cleverly named Judgement features the apocalypse, all-too-human elves, moralistic angst, pseudo-science, nanobots, werewolves, and a saviour. It started as a little bit of fluff about nano-immortality, and quickly developed out of control into an attempt to fix everything I don't like about epic fantasy. Why do I keep doing this?
At any rate, this new version looks rather promising. At least it's better than the original, which read like it was written by a fourteen-year-old (which it was. Maybe that explains it).
And finally, in doing some research for a comic (goddamnit it's hard to draw someone leaping tall buildings in a single bound), I discovered parkour looks a hell of a lot cooler than I knew. This comic is going to go from pretty-yet-blah to OMG ACTIONSEQUENCE! just so I can use some of the photoref I found.

So! Shameless self-plug completed, I have that darn essay to work on. What've you lot been up to?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Scary Stuff for Writers

I've just found about a new Irish law that makes blasphemy illegal (read the article below for more explanation) - and to be honest, I'm worried.

It isn't my intention to start a religious or moral debate here, because this really isn't the forum for that. The reason I'm posting this on Devereaux Court is that I feel this law has far-reaching implications for writers; if this kind of thing catches on on a global scale, it will give governing bodies the ability to censor everything from the arts to print news, arbitrarily and without accountability (or even the necessity for it).

I'm not saying we should all run out and start trashing other peoples' religious beliefs, or that writers shouldn't be conscientious and consider the feelings of their potential audiences, but what I am saying is that it should be up to an individual writer whether or not he chooses to say something that might insult someone else, and it should be up to that someone else whether or not she chooses to read or support that writer.

Anyway, without getting into questioning why people need their governments to hold their hands and shield them from anything even remotely controversial (that's a whole other article's worth of ranting), I'll post the article. The original can be found here.

From today, 1 January 2010, the new Irish blasphemy law becomes operational, and we begin our campaign to have it repealed. Blasphemy is now a crime punishable by a €25,000 fine. The new law defines blasphemy as publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion, with some defences permitted.

This new law is both silly and dangerous. It is silly because medieval religious laws have no place in a modern secular republic, where the criminal law should protect people and not ideas. And it is dangerous because it incentivises religious outrage, and because Islamic States led by Pakistan are already using the wording of this Irish law to promote new blasphemy laws at UN level.

We believe in the golden rule: that we have a right to be treated justly, and that we have a responsibility to treat other people justly. Blasphemy laws are unjust: they silence people in order to protect ideas. In a civilised society, people have a right to to express and to hear ideas about religion even if other people find those ideas to be outrageous.

Publication of 25 blasphemous quotes

In this context we now publish a list of 25 blasphemous quotes, which have previously been published by or uttered by or attributed to Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Mark Twain, Tom Lehrer, Randy Newman, James Kirkup, Monty Python, Rev Ian Paisley, Conor Cruise O’Brien, Frank Zappa, Salman Rushdie, Bjork, Amanda Donohoe, George Carlin, Paul Woodfull, Jerry Springer the Opera, Tim Minchin, Richard Dawkins, Pope Benedict XVI, Christopher Hitchens, PZ Myers, Ian O’Doherty, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Dermot Ahern.

Despite these quotes being abusive and insulting in relation to matters held sacred by various religions, we unreservedly support the right of these people to have published or uttered them, and we unreservedly support the right of any Irish citizen to make comparable statements about matters held sacred by any religion without fear of being criminalised, and without having to prove to a court that a reasonable person would find any particular value in the statement.

Campaign begins to repeal the Irish blasphemy law

We ask Fianna Fail and the Green Party to repeal their anachronistic blasphemy law, as part of the revision of the Defamation Act that is included within the Act. We ask them to hold a referendum to remove the reference to blasphemy from the Irish Constitution.

We also ask all TDs and Senators to support a referendum to remove references to God from the Irish Constitution, including the clauses that prevent atheists from being appointed as President of Ireland or as a Judge without swearing a religious oath asking God to direct them in their work.

If you run a website, blog or other media publication, please feel free to republish this statement and the list of quotes yourself, in order to show your support for the campaign to repeal the Irish blasphemy law and to promote a rational, ethical, secular Ireland.

List of 25 Blasphemous Quotes Published by Atheist Ireland

1. Jesus Christ, when asked if he was the son of God, in Matthew 26:64: “Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” According to the Christian Bible, the Jewish chief priests and elders and council deemed this statement by Jesus to be blasphemous, and they sentenced Jesus to death for saying it.

2. Jesus Christ, talking to Jews about their God, in John 8:44: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” This is one of several chapters in the Christian Bible that can give a scriptural foundation to Christian anti-Semitism. The first part of John 8, the story of “whoever is without sin cast the first stone”, was not in the original version, but was added centuries later. The original John 8 is a debate between Jesus and some Jews. In brief, Jesus calls the Jews who disbelieve him sons of the Devil, the Jews try to stone him, and Jesus runs away and hides.

3. Muhammad, quoted in Hadith of Bukhari, Vol 1 Book 8 Hadith 427: “May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of their prophets.” This quote is attributed to Muhammad on his death-bed as a warning to Muslims not to copy this practice of the Jews and Christians. It is one of several passages in the Koran and in Hadith that can give a scriptural foundation to Islamic anti-Semitism, including the assertion in Sura 5:60 that Allah cursed Jews and turned some of them into apes and swine.

4. Mark Twain, describing the Christian Bible in Letters from the Earth, 1909: “Also it has another name – The Word of God. For the Christian thinks every word of it was dictated by God. It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies… But you notice that when the Lord God of Heaven and Earth, adored Father of Man, goes to war, there is no limit. He is totally without mercy – he, who is called the Fountain of Mercy. He slays, slays, slays! All the men, all the beasts, all the boys, all the babies; also all the women and all the girls, except those that have not been deflowered. He makes no distinction between innocent and guilty… What the insane Father required was blood and misery; he was indifferent as to who furnished it.” Twain’s book was published posthumously in 1939. His daughter, Clara Clemens, at first objected to it being published, but later changed her mind in 1960 when she believed that public opinion had grown more tolerant of the expression of such ideas. That was half a century before Fianna Fail and the Green Party imposed a new blasphemy law on the people of Ireland.

5. Tom Lehrer, The Vatican Rag, 1963: “Get in line in that processional, step into that small confessional. There, the guy who’s got religion’ll tell you if your sin’s original. If it is, try playing it safer, drink the wine and chew the wafer. Two, four, six, eight, time to transubstantiate!”

6. Randy Newman, God’s Song, 1972: “And the Lord said: I burn down your cities – how blind you must be. I take from you your children, and you say how blessed are we. You all must be crazy to put your faith in me. That’s why I love mankind.”

7. James Kirkup, The Love That Dares to Speak its Name, 1976: “While they prepared the tomb I kept guard over him. His mother and the Magdalen had gone to fetch clean linen to shroud his nakedness. I was alone with him… I laid my lips around the tip of that great cock, the instrument of our salvation, our eternal joy. The shaft, still throbbed, anointed with death’s final ejaculation.” This extract is from a poem that led to the last successful blasphemy prosecution in Britain, when Denis Lemon was given a suspended prison sentence after he published it in the now-defunct magazine Gay News. In 2002, a public reading of the poem, on the steps of St. Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square, failed to lead to any prosecution. In 2008, the British Parliament abolished the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel.

8. Matthias, son of Deuteronomy of Gath, in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, 1979: “Look, I had a lovely supper, and all I said to my wife was that piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah.”

9. Rev Ian Paisley MEP to the Pope in the European Parliament, 1988: “I denounce you as the Antichrist.” Paisley’s website describes the Antichrist as being “a liar, the true son of the father of lies, the original liar from the beginning… he will imitate Christ, a diabolical imitation, Satan transformed into an angel of light, which will deceive the world.”

10. Conor Cruise O’Brien, 1989: “In the last century the Arab thinker Jamal al-Afghani wrote: ‘Every Muslim is sick and his only remedy is in the Koran.’ Unfortunately the sickness gets worse the more the remedy is taken.”

11. Frank Zappa, 1989: “If you want to get together in any exclusive situation and have people love you, fine – but to hang all this desperate sociology on the idea of The Cloud-Guy who has The Big Book, who knows if you’ve been bad or good – and cares about any of it – to hang it all on that, folks, is the chimpanzee part of the brain working.”

12. Salman Rushdie, 1990: “The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas – uncertainty, progress, change – into crimes.” In 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie because of blasphemous passages in Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.

13. Bjork, 1995: “I do not believe in religion, but if I had to choose one it would be Buddhism. It seems more livable, closer to men… I’ve been reading about reincarnation, and the Buddhists say we come back as animals and they refer to them as lesser beings. Well, animals aren’t lesser beings, they’re just like us. So I say fuck the Buddhists.”

14. Amanda Donohoe on her role in the Ken Russell movie Lair of the White Worm, 1995: “Spitting on Christ was a great deal of fun. I can’t embrace a male god who has persecuted female sexuality throughout the ages, and that persecution still goes on today all over the world.”

15. George Carlin, 1999: “Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!”

16. Paul Woodfull as Ding Dong Denny O’Reilly, The Ballad of Jaysus Christ, 2000: “He said me ma’s a virgin and sure no one disagreed, Cause they knew a lad who walks on water’s handy with his feet… Jaysus oh Jaysus, as cool as bleedin’ ice, With all the scrubbers in Israel he could not be enticed, Jaysus oh Jaysus, it’s funny you never rode, Cause it’s you I do be shoutin’ for each time I shoot me load.”

17. Jesus Christ, in Jerry Springer The Opera, 2003: “Actually, I’m a bit gay.” In 2005, the Christian Institute tried to bring a prosecution against the BBC for screening Jerry Springer the Opera, but the UK courts refused to issue a summons.

18. Tim Minchin, Ten-foot Cock and a Few Hundred Virgins, 2005: “So you’re gonna live in paradise, With a ten-foot cock and a few hundred virgins, So you’re gonna sacrifice your life, For a shot at the greener grass, And when the Lord comes down with his shiny rod of judgment, He’s gonna kick my heathen ass.”

19. Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, 2006: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” In 2007 Turkish publisher Erol Karaaslan was charged with the crime of insulting believers for publishing a Turkish translation of The God Delusion. He was acquitted in 2008, but another charge was brought in 2009. Karaaslan told the court that “it is a right to criticise religions and beliefs as part of the freedom of thought and expression.”

20. Pope Benedict XVI quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor, 2006: “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” This statement has already led to both outrage and condemnation of the outrage. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the world’s largest Muslim body, said it was a “character assassination of the prophet Muhammad”. The Malaysian Prime Minister said that “the Pope must not take lightly the spread of outrage that has been created.” Pakistan’s foreign Ministry spokesperson said that “anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence”. The European Commission said that “reactions which are disproportionate and which are tantamount to rejecting freedom of speech are unacceptable.”

21. Christopher Hitchens in God is not Great, 2007: “There is some question as to whether Islam is a separate religion at all… Islam when examined is not much more than a rather obvious and ill-arranged set of plagiarisms, helping itself from earlier books and traditions as occasion appeared to require… It makes immense claims for itself, invokes prostrate submission or ‘surrender’ as a maxim to its adherents, and demands deference and respect from nonbelievers into the bargain. There is nothing-absolutely nothing-in its teachings that can even begin to justify such arrogance and presumption.”

22. PZ Myers, on the Roman Catholic communion host, 2008: “You would not believe how many people are writing to me, insisting that these horrible little crackers (they look like flattened bits of styrofoam) are literally pieces of their god, and that this omnipotent being who created the universe can actually be seriously harmed by some third-rate liberal intellectual at a third-rate university… However, inspired by an old woodcut of Jews stabbing the host, I thought of a simple, quick thing to do: I pierced it with a rusty nail (I hope Jesus’s tetanus shots are up to date). And then I simply threw it in the trash, followed by the classic, decorative items of trash cans everywhere, old coffeegrounds and a banana peel.”

23. Ian O’Doherty, 2009: “(If defamation of religion was illegal) it would be a crime for me to say that the notion of transubstantiation is so ridiculous that even a small child should be able to see the insanity and utter physical impossibility of a piece of bread and some wine somehow taking on corporeal form. It would be a crime for me to say that Islam is a backward desert superstition that has no place in modern, enlightened Europe and it would be a crime to point out that Jewish settlers in Israel who believe they have a God given right to take the land are, frankly, mad. All the above assertions will, no doubt, offend someone or other.”

24. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, 2009: “Whether a person is atheist or any other, there is in fact in my view something not totally human if they leave out the transcendent… we call it God… I think that if you leave that out you are not fully human.” Because atheism is not a religion, the Irish blasphemy law does not protect atheists from abusive and insulting statements about their fundamental beliefs. While atheists are not seeking such protection, we include the statement here to point out that it is discriminatory that this law does not hold all citizens equal.

25. Dermot Ahern, Irish Minister for Justice, introducing his blasphemy law at an Oireachtas Justice Committee meeting, 2009, and referring to comments made about him personally: “They are blasphemous.” Deputy Pat Rabbitte replied: “Given the Minister’s self-image, it could very well be that we are blaspheming,” and Minister Ahern replied: “Deputy Rabbitte says that I am close to the baby Jesus, I am so pure.” So here we have an Irish Justice Minister joking about himself being blasphemed, at a parliamentary Justice Committee discussing his own blasphemy law, that could make his own jokes illegal.

Finally, as a bonus, Micheal Martin, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, opposing attempts by Islamic States to make defamation of religion a crime at UN level, 2009: “We believe that the concept of defamation of religion is not consistent with the promotion and protection of human rights. It can be used to justify arbitrary limitations on, or the denial of, freedom of expression. Indeed, Ireland considers that freedom of expression is a key and inherent element in the manifestation of freedom of thought and conscience and as such is complementary to freedom of religion or belief.” Just months after Minister Martin made this comment, his colleague Dermot Ahern introduced Ireland’s new blasphemy law.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


So, it doesn't look like Createspace ever sent my proof copy of Aigaion Girl. I'm fairly pissed. I've sent them a support request; I guess I'll have to wait and see how that goes.

In the meantime, my website is well underway.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Magic of Writing

I always laugh at people when they say magic isn't real. This is mainly because I've chosen a career that relies entirely on the practice of real, provable, tangible magic – because if magic wasn't real, writers wouldn't exist.

I'm not talking just about sitting down and channeling, letting your characters and stories write themselves. There is magic there, certainly, but I'm talking about the actual act of writing. Essentially, what we're doing when we write is using symbols on a page to project our thoughts into the minds of future readers. We're making sure our thoughts will outlast our bodies. We're practicing magic.

Supposing we each told someone: “I'm going to put some symbols on this paper, and then you'll be able to go back in time and read my mind at this exact moment,” would any of our someones believe us, or would they tell us that magic isn't real?

A Writing Tip from Holly Lisle: learn the tools of your trade

So I received this e-mail...

"were not haven trouble written sences and its two of us written
it... thats why it dnt really get boring i mean like theres alot of
action... were never really bored.... everyone thats read it tells
us to hurry up and finish it.. but we are calling it exspect the
unexspected.. its good. we know how were going to end it so we can
start the next book.what all does it take to get a book published?"

That was the complete email, except for the writer's name, which
I'm withholding out of kindness, to protect the identity of the
creator of this monstrosity.

You want to know why editors and agents take to drinking?

That e-mail---and the million others like it---is why.

This writer---plus one colleague---have committed fiction with
intent to publish. And now they want to know how sell the beast
they have created.

And yet...

There is no rule of professional writing (or even simple writing
with intent to communicate) that is not broken in that one
paragraph. Capitalization, punctuation, spelling, grammar,
content, actual creation of actual sentences, even basic coherence
---it doesn't have ANY of them.

Imagine yourself as en editor, as an agent, or as a publisher, and
imagine that you receive not just one entire book written at the
level of that one paragraph in the mail, but dozens of them every
day. Plus countless query letters, e-mails, and proposals.

You would find yourself expecting the imminent fall of civilization.
Maybe even wishing for it.

If you are currently writing anything that looks even remotely like
the paragraph above, stop worrying about publication. "I want to
sell my book" has no business in your vocabulary yet.

First, learn the tools of your trade, because until you can write
coherent, meaningful sentences one after another, punctuate them
correctly, put capital letters in the right places, spell the words
properly, use apostrophes well, and in all other ways present your
work in a professional manner, you have not written something good,
no matter what you might think.

Writing is first and foremost about communication. Before you can
communicate anything of value, you first have to be able to
communicate at all. You have to be able to make yourself
understood, and capital letters, spelling, punctuation, and grammar
are the ways we have agreed upon to standardize the presentation of
communication so that we can transfer meaning, and expect it to be
understood by the recipient.

When you write, you are putting the products of your mind into
symbols. When someone else decodes those symbols, he is reading
your mind. Mindreading is a delicate, tricky business, and you want to
make the path from your thoughts to your reader's brain as clear,
simple, and litter-free as possible. If you don't use the code correctly,
don't expect to your thoughts to be understood.

Educate yourself, raise your standards, and present yourself as a
professional if you wish to be treated as a professional.

This article is Copyright (C) Holly Lisle, from Holly Lisle's Writing Updates: All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with direct written permission from the author.


So, as you can see, I've given DC a wee bit of a facelift. Thoughts?

P.S.: Happy 2010, everyone.